CCS Survey Response

The following is an open letter from Norway House regarding the results of the interviews conducted in person from February to March, and and the survey emailed to Norway House newsletter recipients on March 12, 2018.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Dear friends of Norway House,

Thank you to all those who took time to participate in the Campaign Planning Study for Norway House. In this letter, we will provide a high-level overview of the study’s results. In addition, we will share the next steps for moving forward with the campaign.

CCS Fundraising, the professional counsel contracted by Norway House, conducted 37 strategic conversations and received 299 completed online survey responses to gauge our community’s reaction to the campaign plans and feasibility of raising $15 million for our Cultural Center. A summary of the study’s findings and recommendations was presented at the Norway House’s Board meeting on March 27, 2018. We are pleased to inform you that the Board of Directors supports CCS’s recommendations and we will be continuing our campaign efforts over the next 21 months. Norway House’s immediate next steps include finalizing the scope of the project plans against a working fundraising target of $9-$11M and begin a planning phase in earnest.

Some of the highlights from the study include:

  • Norway House is well regarded, but would benefit from further defining its organizational mission, vision, and value proposition to constituents and partner organizations.

  • Gathering and community space, permanent exhibition space, a performance/lecture hall, and a genealogical research library were seen as high priorities for the Cultural Center. In order to inspire philanthropy, a Cultural Center-specific case for support will need to be developed to further demonstrate how the project aligns with Norway House’s mission.  

  • Ninety-five percent of interview respondents reacted positively to the overall proposed plans. Ninety-two percent of online survey respondents reacted positively to the proposed plans.

  • Seventy-five percent of interview respondents and 41% of online survey respondents are willing to consider making a gift to the campaign.

  • CCS recommended an initial working goal of $3 to $5 million, subject to the receipt of the first 15-20 campaign gifts, in new fundraising to match against the bonding grant from the State of Minnesota. The goal will be set against a timeframe of approximately 18 months with financial benchmarks culminating with a public, community phase. In December of this year, Norway House will reevaluate the pace of fundraising to inform overall feasibility of a larger campaign goal.

We thank you for not only your participation, but also your willingness to provide CCS your candid and thoughtful feedback. As we move forward with our plans, we plan to keep you informed of any updates and hope to continue to have your support during this pivotal time for Norway House.



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Jon Pederson

Board Chair

Christina Carleton

Executive Director

Dr. John E. Haugo Matching Fund

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Bygdelagenes Fellesraad and Norway House are excited to be partnering in the upcoming expansion of the current Norway House campus. The expansion will include a research library, space, and classes needed to introduce genealogy to a new generation of researchers.

As part of a $500,000 gift, former president of Telelaget and current Norway House board member, Dr. John E. Haugo is matching all donations toward the library, up to $200,000, until May 5th, 2018!

As of today, Fellesraad and Bygdelag members have already given over $107,000 toward this goal, leaving $93,000 left to match! So close!

You can donate online by clicking the button below, or by sending a check with memo specifying "Genealogy Library."

Give today to help us get closer to this dream. With your help, Fellesraad and Norway House are proud to present a modern space that is accessible to all those interested in Norwegian genealogy research.


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Star Tribune: Expanded 'National Norwegian Center' in America takes shape in Minneapolis

Expanded 'National Norwegian Center' in America takes shape in Minneapolis

They plan to break ground in 2020 on a $10 million-plus event center and banquet hall.

From the The Twin Cities Star Tribune
FEBRUARY 16, 2018 — 11:44PM

Norway House Executive Director Christina Carleton, a Norwegian immigrant, and Jon Pederson, the board chairman, are planning a $10 million-plus event-center/banquet hall addition that will be called the National Norwegian Center in America. Photo by Neal St. Anthony

Norway House Executive Director Christina Carleton, a Norwegian immigrant, and Jon Pederson, the board chairman, are planning a $10 million-plus event-center/banquet hall addition that will be called the National Norwegian Center in America.
Photo by Neal St. Anthony



Norway House Executive Director Christina Carleton, a Norwegian immigrant, and Jon Pederson, the board chairman, are planning a $10 million-plus event-center/banquet hall addition that will be called the National Norwegian Center in America.

The business and cultural backers behind “Norway House” in 2015 are planning a $10 million-plus expansion on a once-dilapidated block on the near South Side into what essentially will be the campus of the “National Norwegian Center in America,” including an adjacent Norwegian-Lutheran church.

The Norwegians, neighborhood “immigrant” entrepreneurs and workers of a century ago, are more than doubling down on a return to the old neighborhood. And the storefronts along E. Franklin Avenue in the Phillips neighborhood today include Latinos and East Africans.

Small business owner Jon Pederson, chairman of the board of Norway House, is joined by partners such as Scandinavian food-and-gifts retailer Julie Ingebretsen; former Tennant Co. CEO Janet Dolan, former Gov. Al Quie, banker Ole Koppang and other supporters. They plan to break ground in 2020 on a $10 million-plus event center and banquet hall that will replace a vacant laundromat and a few abandoned houses adjacent to Norway House.

‘A lot of appeal in the world’

“I view this as a startup business and I’m excited for what this is and what it will bring to Franklin Avenue and our community,” said Christina Carleton, Norway House’s executive director and a Norwegian immigrant.

Her late father, Thor Johansen, was a Norwegian diplomat. “The Nordic countries have a lot of appeal in the world. They are attractive, lead in environmental sustainability, global education and peacemaking,” Carleton noted. “A high standard of living. We are showcasing that in this place. And the Norwegian center will help engage the next generation of Norwegian Americans and others.”

And Minnesota boasts more citizens of Norwegian heritage than any state or country other than Norway, a nation of fewer than 6 million people.

Carleton, 35, educated at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University, Mankato, joined Norway House last year after working on business-and-cultural affairs for the Norwegian consulate’s office for a decade.

Pederson, 68, owner of Ruffridge-Johnson Equipment Co. in southeast Minneapolis, jump-started the Norwegian center village when he took over the board several years ago. He and others raised nearly $3 million to buy an old building and convert it to Norway House in 2015.

They chose rebounding East Franklin Avenue, a couple blocks east of Chicago Avenue, because it was once the center of Minneapolis Scandinavian life and an economical place to build. It is now home to more businesses owned by first-generation Africans and Latinos, with whom Norway House collaborates.

On the other side of the block sits Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, featuring the only scheduled Sunday services spoken in Norwegian in the United States.

Norway House, 913 E. Franklin, is a 12,000-square-foot renovation, that includes office space for Norwegian-American organizations; Concordia Language Villages, including its park program for Minneapolis inner-city kids; an exhibition space, and several businesses, including one owned by an Ethiopian-American.

Ingebretsen, whose Norwegian immigrant grandfather founded the south Minneapolis Scandinavian gifts-and-food shop more than 90 years ago, has operated a second store at Norway House since 2015, which features a kaffebar (coffee bar) with indoor and outdoor seating and a “gave butikk,” gift shop.

‘Big on exporting peace and culture’

Carleton, who married a farm kid from Blue Earth County who owns a Twin Cities engineering firm, Pederson and Quie successfully lobbied the 2017 Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton for $5 million in bond proceeds that can be used for the planned expansion, if it is matched by at least $5 million in private contributions.

Pederson, a Minnesota native, served a Vietnam tour in the Marines after high school, graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, and met his Moroccan-born wife in Paris in 1976 while he was studying in Germany. He is a peace warrior who has volunteered over the years on Minnesota-Norway projects, the Boy Scouts and Concordia Language Villages.

Dolan, an attorney and businesswoman, retired from Tennant more than a decade ago, to focus on writing, and peace and environmental issues. She long has coordinated her work with Norway House, home to the Minnesota Peace Initiative and the Edvard Grieg Society.

“Norway is big on exporting peace and culture,” Carleton noted.

Nearby Augsburg University, which has German and Norwegian Lutheran roots, also will be a partner in the expanded education center and banquet hall.


Neal St. Anthony has been a Star Tribune business columnist and reporter since 1984. He can be contacted at